How all-type dementia risk factors and modifiable risk interventions may be relevant to the first-generation aging with HIV infection?

  • Htein Linn Aung
  • Scherazad Kootar
  • Thomas M. Gates
  • Bruce J. Brew
  • Lucette A. CysiqueEmail author
Special Article



The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of established risk factors for all-type dementia and results of interventions on dementia modifiable risk factors, all with relevance to aging people living with HIV (PLHIV).


Narrative literature review.


Our review identifies a high prevalence of risk factors for dementia in the global HIV population that is entering dementia age range (60 +), in relation to both traditional and HIV-specific risk factors. This includes age (HIV-related premature aging and possibly HIV-related accelerated brain aging and cerebrovascular injury), HIV-related and non-HIV-related cardiovascular diseases burden with related-vascular brain damage, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders, high mental health burden, low educational/socio-economic status, historical immune compromise, and persistent immune activation with consequent augmented immune senescence. Our review highlights that the results of interventions on all-type dementia modifiable factors show discrepancies between positive observational study results and inconclusive clinical trials. The main reasons for such discrepancies relate to the preventative framework that complex interventions’ trials have difficulty to emulate and the suboptimal measurement of cognitive change. Multi-domain intervention trials are now advocated to concomitantly tackle complex age-related comorbid profiles.


The burden of dementia risk in aging PLHIV is higher than that in the general population, particularly in the most vulnerable clusters. Epidemiological studies are urgently needed to provide accurate estimates. Lessons from interventions trials in all-type dementia on modifiable factors need to be carefully considered for enhancing trials’ potential in aging PLHIV. A comprehensive and preventative neurogeriatric healthcare response linked with HIV communities and dementia associations should be urgently put in place.


HIV/AIDS Dementia Risk factors Aging HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders Interventions Dementia modifiable risk factors 



We thank our research participants for their invaluable contribution to our NeuroHIV research program.

Authors contributions

HLA reviewed research in HIV and aging and primarily contributed to this section and to the last version of the manuscript, SK contributed to the dementia risk factors and healthy aging recommendations’ sections, TMG drafted part of an early version of the manuscript, contributed to the dementia risk factors’ section and contributed to the last version of the manuscript, BJB reviewed and contributed to the last version of the manuscript, LAC determine the review structures and focus, and contributed to all manuscripts versions.


NHMRC project grants (APP568746; CIA/PI Cysique, APP1105808 CIA/PI Brew) and NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (APP1045400; CIA/PI Cysique), Peter Duncan Neuroscience Research Unit at St. Vincent’s Centre for Applied Medical Research (St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney; Director: Prof. Brew).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© European Geriatric Medicine Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Neurology and HIV MedicineSt Vincent’s Hospital and Peter Duncan Neurosciences Unit, St Vincent’s Centre for Applied Medical ResearchSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Neuroscience Research AustraliaLifecourse Ageing Research Centre (LARC)SydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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